|Union Square was quite a fun trendy place, where loads of students and arty types were hanging out.We stopped for yet another coffee (that stuff can get addictive in New York.)
|We decided to get a cab back to the Hotel (we had always intended to travel in a real New York Taxi.)Apparently Rudi Juliani, did much to combat corruption and crime in New York (its said to be much safe than it was 10 years ago).There is a number you can call, if you believe you have been overcharged, and its investigated immediately.
Our driver was quite friendly, and took us the quickest rout back to our hotel.
|The following day, we set of for more adventures.We kicked of with a visit to the United Nations building.I really wanted to see a statue they had there, which shows a person with a sword, which is bent at the end, to become a plough.
Unfortunately, it was closed, but was magnificent from the outside.
|We visit the Rockefeller center with its amazing collection of flags.
|A dedication stone to one of the worlds most famous philanthropists.
|Broadway was everything I expected it to be.There were shows, bright lights, superb restaurants, and tv studios like NBC.Not even driving rain could dampen the enthusiasm of its visitors.
|Carnegie Hall.Loads of people were going past in tourist buses. We decided not to, and did our own “walking tour”.
|Tipping is part of the US culture. People are taxed on their expected tips, whether they get them or not. No problem really, as we had budgeted for this, but it was a little embarrassing at times when they went to lengths to tell us they expected a tip, and we already knew.It was at its most annoying, in the hotel. I actually wanted to carry my own bag, but people insisted on carrying it, and then almost forced me to give them $5.That said, the service in bars and restaurants like this one, were superb. They would check if your drink was getting low, politely ask if you would like another, and it would be in front of you in under 60 seconds.
|My steak was fantastic, and everything I had come to expect from America.I did find the place very status orientated and it was quite common for people to look at your clothes, before they would look at your face.On the other hand, I didn’t see many malcontents. The guy that sold me a hamburger, looked like he worked hard, and considered himself to be on the first rung of life’s ladder, not one of life’s hard done to.
New Yorkers I guess are hard like that, but then its that mentality that built the spectacular city of New York.
Manchester/Chester People are much more friendly, but our city isn’t quite as good.
|We took a picture of a famous New York police car (we watch a lot of 3rd watch, on FX).Security is taken very seriously in the country now, so my original idea of having our photo taken with a “Cop” was discarded.
|What are the odds of this.I am in a spectacular hotel on the other side of the world, in a place that looks a bit like my home, but couldn’t be more different.Sarah and I relax in our room, switch on the TV, and my favourite UK show, The memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, were on, and it was an episode I hadn’t seen.
|The hustle and bustle of Park Avenue on the way back to our Hotel.
|Not my choice, but we ended up going to Bloomingdales.It was actually a lot more friendly and fun than I thought it would be.
They had some pretty smart carved objects, which we were considering buying for our house.
On reflection we realized that they were ashtray’s and neither of us smoke !.
|I had to take a picture of this amazing shop from outside, as they had rules about photography.Basically, it was a kitchen utensil shop, similar to one in the UK. The difference was that it had a fully fitted kitchen, and a qualified chef cooking food for everyone, and demonstrating the articles for sale.
Really friendly shop staff, wandered around the store inviting questions.
I have never worked in retail, but I couldn’t help thinking if I did, that’s how I would run my shop.
|We visited this fairly upmarket convenience store (we had visited a conventional one previously as part of the New York experience).They had every kind of herb and an extensive collection of wine.
Thing I thought was most impressive, was cooked food, which you could take out.
Like the old single man’s trick of buying a curry from the curry house, and then putting it in a pan and stirring it, as a female guest arrives.
You could buy Chilli, and all sorts of “home cooked” food 24hrs a day, take it home, and pretend you made it.
|Several skyscrapers around upper midtown Manhattan.The black one in the center is the worldwide headquarters of IBM.
My old boss went there years ago, when we worked together in Manchester, and I remember him saying how excellent the building was.
|The attitude of New Yorkers is legendary, but I found it was possible to break through it.On one occasion in the hotel bar, I entered and the bar keep gave me the usual script and asked me if I was well etc.
I replied and asked politely for a beer, and said thank you when I received it (I do this in every country I visit, I believe that we are all ambassadors for our country).
As I reached my 3rd drink, and said thank you, the bar keep met my eyes, and said “No, Thank you !” with real meaning.
Just a simple act, but I found it touching, and although I have no plans to do it, I am sure I could do well living in a City like this.
|The famous Trump TowersTo the right of the picture, you can see an American Flag. They were everywhere you went in New York, and I admire the pride people have for the flag.
An American friend who lives in the UK, actually commented, that we only seem to see the Union Jack when there is a football championship on.
Slightly annoying, is street furniture like these street lights, which ruin the shot.
They seem to appear, wherever I go, I wish town planners around the world would consider this.
|A view of the Trump Tower, looking up.Built (according to his biography) ahead of schedule and within budget.
Probably back in the days when he had his own hair 🙂
|St Nocholauses Church.In Tokyo, there are many traditional “Old Edo” buildings, like little Islands in the middle of an ocean of skyscrapers.
New York, had an element of this, with Old Cathedrals and Church’s performing a similar role.
|We go for a short wander around the amazing Central Park.New York is sometimes described as the largest film set in the world, due to the number of films its been featured in.
Nowhere is this more true, than Central Park.
|The path around the reservoir in central park, has been set up as a running track (6 miles) people are encouraged to walk or run in an anti-clockwise direction.An enthusiastic Park employee, insisted on giving us a map, and answering all our questions (and even answering questions we hadn’t asked, which she thought were interesting anyway).
|The Guggenheim museum viewed from Central ParkOne of only 2 disappointments during the the trip.
The famous Guggenheim museum was undergoing repairs to its roof, so we were unable to see it.
The other disappointment was the famous Sea/Air/ Space museum, which features and Aircraft carrier, Concord, S71 Blackbird spy-plane and a Nuclear sub.
We ran out of time, and didn’t end up seeing it.
I am going back to New York next year as part of a US tour, and I will see it then.
|After a short wander around the park, we decided to get a horse and carriage, and go on a tour of the park.Sarah was really looking forward to this, and as I had failed to deliver promised carriage ride on our trip to Rome, it seemed the right thing to do.
|The lake was a very relaxing place.Although it was technically winter, it was quite warm in just a jumper, and the sun came out a couple of times.
|Our Carriage driver was very friendly, and insisted on showing us the sites of the park, and mentioning details of film sets.Here, the famous Belvedere Castle, which features a nature reserve.
In the far background a building with 2 towers was used in the film ghost busters.
|This summer house was featured in the film home alone 2.In the background you can see the tall residential buildings which surround the park on all side.
|Grand Central station.Featured in the beginnings and endings of literally thousands of films.
It was spectacular inside.
We visited it briefly, as we got the bus to the airport, on our way home.
I have spent lots of time in Jungles around the world, and clichés aside, this was the closest I have come to seeing one made off concrete.
As stated earlier, I will be going back there.
|At the airport on the way home.A few observations about travelling to/from New York.:
1. Continental Airlines didn’t have all the hi-tech stuff that Emirates have, but their staff were superb, and they treated you like a member of their family.
2. Don’t be put off, by immigration. When I arrived, I was frowned at and instead of the usual business or pleasure question, I was asked “why are you here”, like an old boyfriend at a previous girlfriends wedding.
They aren’t being unkind, they are doing it for your safety as well as their own.
3. Make sure you are wearing clean socks when you travel through the airport and that your trousers fit reasonably well. You will be asked to remove your shoes and belt.
Its pretty bad if your pants fall down.